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Patriots big board: The 50 best fits for New England in the 2022 NFL Draft

It is time. Let’s take a look at the best fits for the Patriots in all seven rounds of the upcoming draft.

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/Edit by Pats Pulpit

The NFL world has officially hit the homestretch of draft season. You’ve heard all about the coverage that we have been doing here at Pats Pulpit since January. Weekly podcasts and draft profiles have tried to give you in-depth looks at individual prospects, while our draft spreadsheet has assaulted you guys with information on over 200 different prospects.

In an effort to make all of this info a little more palatable, we now have something new for you: a New England Patriots-specific big board with 50 players represented across all seven rounds of the draft.

Let’s get to meet the 50 best fits for New England in the 2022 draft, or at least who we think will be the top options available for the club. So, if you are looking for the Garrett Wilsons or Jordan Davis’s of the world, this is unfortunately not the place for you (because we don’t think either will be available for the Patriots).

Enough of the chitter-chatter, though. Let’s dive straight in.

For more information on each prospect listed, please make sure to check out this spreadsheet.

Round 1

1. WR Jameson Williams, Alabama: Jameson Williams falling to pick number 21 would be a dream scenario for Patriots fans, and it’s not all that unrealistic. Given that he’s still recovering from an ACL injury, picking the speedy and explosive Williams within the first 20 picks wouldn’t be without risk. The door has been opened slightly, and even if Williams doesn’t fall, New England could still find themselves in a position to move up a few spots to grab him. | Full draft profile

2. CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson: J.C. Jackson is a Los Angeles Charger. The Patriots need a new number one corner. Picking up what we’re putting down? Booth Jr. is one of two cornerback prospects that is expected to be available in the twenties for New England to grab. He would immediately step in and compete for the number one job at cornerback. | Full draft profile

3. CB Kaiir Elam, Florida: Did you read the entry above this? Elam is the other guy. | Full draft profile

4. CB Daxton Hill, Michigan: The Patriots just can’t seem to get enough of these versatile safety prospects that can be used in multiple areas. While Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips and Jabrill Peppers represent safeties who can move into the box, Hill could join Myles Bryant and Jonathan Jones as slot corner/safety options for the Patriots defense. That’s not to mention the fact that he can play on the outside about as well as anyone on New Englands current roster. More versatility sounds like a good thing for New England.

5. OL Zion Johnson, Boston College: The Patriots literally don’t have more than one starting guard. You can’t field an offense that way. Zion Johnson represents the very best that this draft has to offer on the interior offensive line. He’s a day one starter at all three interior positions and has experience playing tackle in a power-5 conference. A more than capable option to solidify New England’s starting offensive line. | Full draft profile

6. OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa: Neither Trent Brown nor Isaiah Wynn are signed on passed, 2023. It feels about time that the Patriots look for a potential long-term replacement for one, if not both. Penning is widely regarded as the top option that would be available to New England at No. 21, so if they want to play the long game, Penning could be the choice. | Full draft profile

7. CB Trent McDuffie, Washington: It’s looking less and less likely that McDuffie will be available at 21. Many like him as a potential top 15 pick, but if he falls into the Patriots range there’s little doubt he’d stack up well with the likes of Kaiir Elam and Andrew Booth Jr. as a potential long-term option. Reminder: J.C. Jackson is a Los Angeles Charger. | Full draft profile

8. LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia: Dont’a Hightower is still a free agent, apparently weighing the options between retirement and a return to New England. Even if he returns, the Patriots may still be looking for a potential long-term fit in the middle. In all sincerity, no one knows how they view the current LBs on their roster. Maybe they want a stud in the middle, in which Dean is one. | Full draft profile

9. DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia: Would you rule out a trade back to the last picks of the first round where New England selects a dynamic defensive tackle that could solidify the individual roles an entire positional group? I wouldn’t.

10. DE David Ojabo, Michigan: Already a fringe first-rounder prior to his achilles injury, David Ojabo won’t be picked in the first round. This entry represents the possibility of New England trading out of the first round altogether, picking up an extra Day 2 pick, and selecting Ojabo with it. Maximizing value, that’s the Patriot way.

Round 2

11. LB Christian Harris, Alabama: The Alabama-New England pipeline is as strong as ever and linebacker may be the spot in which the Patriots feel most comfortable going back to that well. The Patriots, especially if they’re able to cultivate more draft capital in the second round, are in a perfect spot to cash in on this deep, middle-tier linebacker class. | Full draft profile

12. LB Chad Muma, Wyoming: The Patriots, especially if they’re able to cultivate more draft capital in the second round, are in a perfect spot to cash in on this deep, middle-tier linebacker class. Muma is probably the most pro-ready player amongst this crop.

13. LB Quay Walker, Georgia: The Patriots, especially if they’re able to cultivate more draft capital in the second round, are in a perfect... well, you get the idea. Quay Walker is a Jamie Collins clone who could be the best developmental option and a potential versatile piece in the middle. | Full draft profile

14. WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan: If you want a dynamic slot receiver who brings more to the table than your current slot option, Skyy Moore is your guy. He’s going to cost you though. | Full draft profile

15. WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State: If you want someone to fill a vertical passing game role but are unwilling to take a shot on one of the first-round receivers, Christian Watson is your guy. | Full draft profile

16. CB Kyler Gordon, Washington: If they’re unable to pull the trigger on one of the draft’s first-round defensive backs, the Patriots may just fall into the best player overall in Round 2. Kyler Gordon is an ultra-versatile defensive back that could step in immediately as a chess piece before eventually settling into a top cornerback role. Worst case scenario, he becomes a core special teamer and contributor in sub packages. A solid worst-case scenario. | Full draft profile

17. DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M: DeMarvin Leal was viewed by many as a potential top-10 pick last April. Through no fault of his own he’s ended up in the Round 2 conversation. Less of a dynamic pass rusher and more of a scheme versatile mover, Leal fits what the Patriots look for in a defensive lineman. On early downs he’d play 5-wide, before sliding inside in pass-rush situations.

18. DE Boye Mafe, Minnesota: If the Patriots where to ever take a shot on a high-upside pass rusher, it would be someone like Boye Mafe. A good run defender with all of the tools to be successful on the EDGE, Mafe is a 3-4OLB/4-3 DE that New England fans could fall in love with.

19. DT Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma: The Patriots, despite running a base 4-3 defense, don’t have many 4-3 defensive ends. Deatrich Wise Jr. is the beginning and end of that list if you look at their roster for what it is. Winfrey would immediately step in and fight for a role alongside any combination of the Christian Barmore/Lawrence Guy/Davon Godchaux trio.

20. S Jalen Pitre, Baylor: MORE ATHLETIC AND VERSATILE SAFETIES! Pitre lined up at deep safety, in the box, in the slot, and at edge rusher for the Bears last season. He’s a tight end eraser, he stops the run, he was made to be a Patriot.

Round 3

21. WR John Metchie III, Alabama: You’re a Patriots fan. You know the deal.

22. OL Dylan Parham, Memphis: The Patriots have filled a starting guard position with a third-round rookie before. It worked out very well, as Joe Thuney went on to become a top-five guard in football. Parham has a similar ceiling, representing the versatility, toughness, and consistency that the Patriots look for in offensive lineman. | Full draft profile

23. LB Channing Tindall, Georgia: Tindall is a linebacker prospect who plays linebacker at the second level of the defense, where linebackers play. Seriously though this guys just a really good off-ball linebacker with tremendous range. Drafting him in the third round would be a steal.

24. OT Max Mitchell, Louisiana: Max Mitchell needs someone to turn him into the monster that he’s capable of being. His frame is that of a man who could be the most physically imposing tackle in the league. He’s got the athleticism, he just needs the power to go with it. The Patriots are a team who notoriously know how to get that out of young offensive lineman.

25. WR George Pickens, Georgia: George Pickens is a first-round talent, but he lost the majority of his final college season to a torn ACL that he has already returned from and will be ready to play come rookie mini camp. Drafting him represents the opportunity to take a player well below their value. | Full draft profile

26. OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State: Nicholas Petit-Frere fits the Patriots archetype more than any other prospect in this class. That’s a literal fact. | Full draft profile

27. DE Josh Paschal, Kentucky: Josh Paschal is a slightly less exciting player than Perrion Winfrey, but they both represent a similar style of play: penetrating outside run stopper and an inside pass rusher. | Full draft profile

28. LB Brandon Smith, Penn State: The fellas who put this list together are higher on Brandon Smith than most. He’s an athletic linebacker who can rush the passer and bang around in the middle. He’s a Patriots fit through and through and as an off-ball linebacker his stock sits in the third round area, where many others will go. | Full draft profile

29. OL Ed Ingram, LSU: We tried to find the most “Shaq Mason coming out of college” prospect that we could. Enter Ed Ingram. He’s a great mover in open space and uses his lower half to generate tremendous power. Something about him across from Michael Onwenu makes us think New England would run the ball a lot in 2022.

30. LB Troy Andersen, Montana State: Andersen screams Patriot due to his versatility and ability to make plays from multiple spots. A former tight end, running back and quarterback, Andersen’s athleticism pops all over his tape and makes him an enticing off-ball linebacker that has the opportunity to develop into a big-time star in Bill Belichick’s defense. | Full draft profile

Rounds 4-5

31. CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska: Taylor-Britt is a former captain who played both in the slot and outside at Nebraska. He has long limbs and his ball skills allow him to compete with anyone. He’s a willing run defender and he competes. Sounds like a Patriot to me. | Full draft profile

32. RB Hassan Haskins, Michigan: What’s stopping the Patriots from adding another running back? Damien Harris is up after 2022, James White is up the year after. Here’s a guy who represents some of the positives in both and comes from a Patriot factory in Michigan. He’s a great short yardage option who could find an immediate role on special teams.

33. RB Dameon Pierce, Florida: Remember what I said about Harris being up after 2022 Here’s the player who reminds me of him most in the draft, and will come at a similar price that Harris did in 2019.

34. OL Cole Strange, Chattanooga: This guy is probably the least expensive option that could step in and start day one at tackle. He’s a Senior Bowl darling, which the Patriots love, and he has the tools to compete at any interior spot. | Full draft profile

35. CB Derion Kendrick, Georgia: He’s still learning, but Kendrick has made tremendous strides at corner in the past few seasons. When he’s on, there’s no one better. Bill Belichick would have a blast teaching this kid the little things.

36. WR Kyle Philips, UCLA: Phillips is about a tier below where Skyy Moore is in terms of their ability in the slot. Of course, that means his value is a bit lower and would cost less than Moore, while still potentially providing an on-field upgrade in the slot from Jakobi Meyers when it comes to explosiveness.

37. CB Cordale Flott, LSU: This entry is in honor of Patriots fans who like doing mock drafts. You love this guy and we love you, so here he is.

38. WR Bo Melton, Rutgers: Melton has the athletic profile to return and play a gadget role on offense. If the Patriots haven’t picked a wide receiver by Round 5 he should be available.

39. DT Neil Farrell Jr., LSU: Has Davon Godchaux done enough to be considered untouchable at nose tackle? He’s more of a 3-tech than anything. Farrell could fill that role. | Full draft profile

40. LB Damone Clark, LSU: Damone Clark was a bonafide second-rounder prior to his spinal fusion surgery. It will be a long road to recovery, but New England is fine with waiting on young players to get back healthy before contributing. A fifth-round pick for a player with this talent is a no-brainer.

Rounds 6-7/Undrafted free agents

41. CB Alontae Taylor, Tennessee: Want a defensive back who will fly around? This is your guy. Want someone who plays well in zone coverage and keeps everything in front of him? This is your guy. Don’t want to spend a lot on corner but want high upside? This is your guy.

42. RB Max Borghi, Washington State: Sometimes you get an idea in your head and can’t get it out. That was Keagan in 2019 when he decided Max Borghi would be a good third-down back at the next level. James White is up after 2023 and the J.J. Taylor experiment isn’t working. Borghi’s an option.

43. FB Connor Heyward, Michigan State: Does it all. Played running back, fullback, tight end, and returned kicks in his time at Michigan State. Comes from football royalty. Son of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, brother of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward. He’s a competitor who has sufficient hands to make a roster as a tight end. Will immediately compete for a core special teams job. Yeah, that sounds like a Patriots fit.

44. WR Slade Bolden, Alabama: Jakobi Meyers but he played at Alabama with Mac Jones and doesn’t quite understand coverage at the same level. | Full draft profile

45. WR Britain Corvey, Utah: Gunner Olszewski is gone so replace him with a player cut from the same cloth. He’s free too! | Full draft profile

46. QB Jack Coan, Notre Dame: A potential camp arm who could earn a long-term backup job? Interesting.

47. CB Jack Jones, Arizona State: New England has met with this player multiple times. They made sure he got a spot on this list.

48. P/K Matt Araiza: Jake Bailey’s contract is up after 2022. Araiza is a potential star at his position. Who wouldn’t want to replace their current All-Pro punter with a future All-Pro punter?

49. OT Obinna Eze, TCU: He’s still learning the game, but Obinna Eze looks dominant at times. His combination of size and power are enough for any team to take a chance on him. Needing a future starting tackle, New England could be that team. | Full draft profile

50. LB D’Marco Jackson, Appalachian State: The cheapest, most competent option at linebacker the Patriots could hope for, D’Marco Jackson is a great tackler who stops the run.

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